In 2016, Australian authorities put a new program in place to begin tracking location and usage of Thoroughbreds before, during, and after their time on the racetrack. In New South Wales, that tracking system was supposed to help officials enforce a ban on sending off-track horses to slaughter.
A two-year investigation by ABC News released this week reports that system is not doing its job. According to a news story released ahead of a 45-minute investigative television segment, Racing Australia's figures suggest that less than 1 percent of horses retiring each year are sent to slaughter (which translates to 34 horses). Elio Celotto of Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses told ABC that there were 34 horses in one week processed through one slaughterhouse; if that rate is typical, that plant alone processes 4,000 OTTBs each year.
Racing NSW CEO Peter V'landys suggested to ABC News that the Thoroughbreds ending up at slaughterhouses there were likely several years off the track and therefore not being taken there by racing industry participants. V'landys acknowledged that it is difficult for a racing entity to levy punishments against non-racing industry participants who do not have licensees that could be suspended or revoked.
The investigation also revealed inhumane conditions at one slaughterhouse, as horses were overcrowded and often awaiting slaughter with serious injuries left untreated.
Read more at ABC News
See the full report (warning, graphic imagery) here.
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